October 9th, 2012 | Comments Off
Craig Castaldo (aka Radioman) inhabits a peculiar world; he is a man living on the edge of society, yet rubs shoulders with Hollywood’s biggest stars on a daily basis. Director Mary Kerr’s first feature-length documentary delves head first into the eccentric, unconventional life of a legend in New York movie making.
A sunny morning in Manhattan and an old, bearded and disheveled man cycles through the city. You may not know it to look at him, but this man has appeared in hundreds of movies, and is on first name terms with all the major Hollywood stars, from Johnny Depp to Tom Hanks. Meet Radioman, whose alias derives from the simple fact that he always wears an old boom-box tied around his neck.
Mary Kerr’s interviews with a raft of celebrities highlight that Radioman truly is a figure that they all recognize and have a soft spot for; Helen Mirren describes him as “the most loyal, loving movie guy that there is”, Tom Hanks calls him an “institution”, and George Clooney claims “no one shoots in New York and doesn’t know who Radioman is”.
But Radioman lives an extraordinarily paradoxical life, one minute he is on a movie set grabbing free food from craft services and chatting to numerous members of the cast and crew, the next he is sitting alone in his dank apartment surrounded by piles of rubbish and clutter, old movies, and mementos from past film shoots.
He also lives a delusional life, and some of these delusions are more destructive than others; while his belief that his small background roles in movies make him a real ‘actor’ is quite endearing, he is also convinced that the celebrities he meets are his friends. This is impossibly tragic, as these people are not really his friends, he is simply a character to them, sweet and wonderfully enigmatic, but not someone they would invite home to dinner.
Kerr’s documentary succeeds in looking deeper into Radioman’s life, digging into his past and attempting to tease out the story of the person behind the pseudonym. Highlighting how he grew up as Craig Castaldo, a boy from a poor family with an abusive father, how he spent many unfulfilled years working as a post-room worker, how he turned to alcoholism, how he became homeless, and how one chance meeting with Bruce Willis on the set of Bonfire of the Vanities in 1990 changed his life, convinced him to stop drinking, and to become involved in making movies as Radioman.
Radioman has made a life for himself where Craig Castaldo had failed, immersing himself in the movie industry from the bottom up. Though his life is far from perfect, every hour he spends on a film set seems to give him immediate happiness, a happiness which is contagious, making this film an ultimately uplifting story.
Radioman will be released in UK cinemas on 12 October. The premiere of the film will take place on 8 October and will be in aid of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, see here for more information.
Written by Emma Norton
Emma's passion for documentary film developed whilst studying History and Politics at Warwick University. After interning for the BBC's international documentary strand 'Storyville' she became intent on working in the documentary film-making industry and now works for a London-based independent production company [Spirit Level Film]. Emma is one of the only documentary-lovers around that thinks Errol Morris' films are boring.
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